Pages


Friday, November 15, 2013

Simple Pretzel Bread Bowls


I've been slow to climb on the pretzel bread bandwagon. I'm not sure why. Sometimes I confuse myself. But anyway, now that I've made these awesome pretzel bread bowls, I don't think I can go back to my old life where pretzel bread wasn't part of my world. I mean, I could, I just don't want to.


I was concerned that these might be dense throughout, like a soft pretzel is, but they're dense only through the crust, and then they're light and fluffy, the way a bread bowl should be. They are truly fantastic. They hold up nicely, too, against the tide of minestrone or cream of broccoli or creamy tomato soup -- any kind of soup you can throw at it, really.






And my favorite thing about them is that they're really quite simple to make. I recognize that my idea of simple is maybe not the same as everybody else's, but I made these while battling the worst cold I've ever had and I didn't regret it. The dough is easy to work with, and the final result is just stunning. Made me feel like a super star, and who doesn't like that feeling?



Simple Pretzel Bread Bowls
adapted from A Beautiful Mess and Food Network Magazine

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. butter
2 c. hot water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 1/4  tsp. active dry yeast
6 c. bread flour (all purpose would probably be fine, but bread flour is better)
2 tsp. kosher salt

8-10 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda

egg wash (1 egg beaten together with 1 tsp. water)
coarse sea salt

Directions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the butter, hot water and brown sugar. Stir to combine and melt the butter. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the mixture and let sit for 5-6 minutes, at which point it should be nice and foamy.

With the dough hook attachment, stir in three cups of the flour and the kosher salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining three cups of flour. Mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball (should take a few minutes). Continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 4-5 minutes more). Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise for one hour, or until doubled.

After an hour, punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into eight pieces and roll into small balls. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and allow to rest for 20 minutes. If you don't want to make all 8 at once, you can freeze half of them for later use.

In a large pot, heat 8-10 cups of water until just boiling. Stir in 1/3 cup baking soda. Keep at a low boil and place each dough ball into the water. Cook for 45 seconds, flipping in the middle. Remove and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once you've boiled each ball, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Cut a small X on the top of each dough ball with a sharp paring knife.

Bake at 400°F for 15-18 minutes, until very brown on the outside. Allow to cool.

When ready to serve, use a sharp knife to cut a round out of the bread, making a lid in the process (kind of like when you carve a pumpkin). Scoop out as much of the inner bread as desired to make space for soup.

15 comments :

  1. These are lovely, thanks for the tutorial!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can you half this recipe or will it cause problems?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Theoretically, I would say that you could easily half the recipe and end up with satisfactory results, but I've never tried it. The baking soda and water measurements would remain the same.
      Knowing that we will eat them again at a later date, I have made the entire batch of dough through the first rise, punched down and formed into balls, then frozen half for later use and baked the other half as directed. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  3. These are awesome to make. My whole family loved them. They weren't the prettiest but that doesn't really matter if they are good.

    ReplyDelete
  4. My whole family loved them. They weren't the prettiest but that doesn't matter because they were so good. During the process it got really dry but just keep going it works out in the end.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My whole family loved them. They weren't the prettiest but that doesn't matter because they were so good. They became dry in the middle of the process but just keep going they get better. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments, Emma! I'm sorry they didn't turn out as pretty as you had hoped, but I'm glad you enjoyed them anyhow.

      Delete
  7. When freezing the half for later would you reccomend allowing them to thaw at room temp before boiling and baking? It might be easier to bake them all and freeze the ready bread bowls. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Lauren. Let them come to room temp before boiling and baking. Freezing them after fully cooking them is another way to go, though I find frozen bread is never quite as delicious as freshly-baked.

      Delete
  8. Easily the best bread I have ever baked. These come out pretty huge, though. Next time I think I would make them smaller, dinner roll sized. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad these were a success for you! They are very very big, the better to be a bowl for your soup! If you make them smaller, I'd be interested to hear how they turn out for you. Happy baking!

      Delete
  9. How do you get yours so pretty and round? They taste absolutely AMAZING (everyone in my house loves them and that's saying a lot!!!) but they are anything but round and ugly! It's all me - I seem to have a problem working with bread. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're the second person to mention that these didn't come out of the oven looking like rockstars. My first thought is the flour. Did you use bread flour or all-purpose? I've only ever tried this recipe with bread flour, which may make a difference when it comes to helping these hold a pretty shape. My other thought is that perhaps you need to add more flour for a stiffer dough. Hope that helps, Katie!

      Delete
  10. Made these earlier tonight. Everyone LOVED them!! I made them into rolls like one of the earlier comments above mentioned. I also used AP flour and they came out perfect and round!! Made 12 rolls total. Great recipe, and a blast making them! Thanks, Margo
    P.S. totally forgot the egg wash and they still came out like rockstars!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comment. Let's keep things friendly!

LinkWithin